LELAND, NC (WWAY) -- Eleven feet wide and eight feet tall. According to the owner, they're the measurements of the American flag flying at the Buy and Go gas station in Leland. Town Council members say it's too big, and customers are split over whether the flag should continue to fly.
"I think it's absolutely ridiculous," customer Rachel Hawes said. "There's no reason why you should ever have to take down a flag."
"I think they need to leave it alone," Sheila Jordan said. "I enjoy looking at it, and it doesn't harm anyone."
Many customers at the Buy and Go are upset by the the town's decision to stick with its existing ordinance. Thursday night the council said it would notify the business to take down the giant American flag or pay the fine.
According to the Leland town ordinance, a flag pole can't be more than 40 feet high, but the one at the Buy and Go gas station is 60 feet high, and even with the additional height council members are worried, when flown at half staff, this flag won't fly properly.
"Let's tell them on the next holiday, 'Fly that flag at half staff the way it should be flown,'" Councilman Herbert Barnes said. "They can't."
That's because according to federal law, "the flag should never touch anything beneath it." But when flown at half staff council members say this flag would touch the trees below.
"It's bigger to me than the height of the pole, the size of the flag. If it's at half mast and it's dragging the ground, that's wrong," Buy and Go customer Rodney Cheek said.
Barnes is also worried it's being flown for commercialism not patriotism.
"I fought to have the flag flown as it should be flown," Barnes, a Purple Heart recipient, said. "That's not the way it should be flown. It should never be flown to advertise business."
Whether the giant flag stays or not, some people feel everyone should use the controversy to find out the right way to fly the flag.
"It ain't about this flag," Cheek said. "It's about the flag."
The Buy and Go gas station owner was not available to talk on camera, but the manager says they have to speak to their lawyers before they decide whether or not to take down the flag.